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Finding Talent Early Through the Future Ready Iowa Employer Innovation Fund

Employment Innovation Fund

February 9, 2021

With a goal of developing more technologists in the state of Iowa, Ruan, working in conjunction with Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC), is leveraging the Future Ready Iowa Employment Innovation Fund grant from Iowa Workforce Development to support our Employer Sponsored Technology programs (i.e., Registered Technology-based Apprenticeship Program).

Ruan Leverages Technology to Drive Business

Ruan, a family-owned company headquartered in Greater Des Moines (DSM), provides Dedicated Contract Transportation, Managed Transportation and Value-Added Warehousing to customers across the U.S. Our Integrated Supply Chain Solutions encompass all aspects of transportation and logistics, providing our customers the ideal combination of asset- and non-asset-based solutions that get their products from point A to point B safely and efficiently. With more than 88 years of transportation management experience, Ruan is one of the top 10 privately owned transportation companies in the country with 300 operations and 5,500 team members.

Technology is important to Ruan because no part of our business runs without it. Consider that we have more than 3,500 “big red computers” driving down the road. These rolling computers provide insight into where our customer’s loads are at all times. We leverage technology to manage our fleet, our warehouses and our customers’ freight to deliver where and when they desire. Beyond where we leverage technology today, we see many applications for additional technology in the future — think wearables, smart trucks, augmented reality. It is a great time to be in technology at Ruan; it drives our business, and we are always looking for engaged team members to join our team.

IT Training + Instruction

Through the partnership established with this Future Ready Iowa Employer Innovation Fund grant, Ruan identified team members with a high potential for upskilling and advancement to participate in DMACC’s Employer Sponsored Technology Pathway program. These individuals received tuition support for participation in various technology-based training programs. The training, which focused on instruction in networking, programming and cyber security, provided our team members with high-quality IT training. Some team members received certificates of completion, as well as college credit. With this training, team members were prepared to work in several IT areas within Ruan IT and will be on a pathway to further IT education and training in the future.

High School Apprenticeship Program

Ruan initiated a cooperative apprentice model about four years ago. In cooperation with Central Campus in Des Moines, Ruan established a Technology-based High School Apprenticeship Program. The intent was to engage junior and senior high school students in the application of technology with the specific goal of hiring some of them as full-time team members. For every team member continued education is critical and this program with DMACC provided the ongoing training to keep our direct-from-high-school hires current on key technology elements.

Ruan’s apprenticeship program, in partnership with the State of Iowa and DMACC, generated these positive outcomes:

  • Graduates are gaining valuable on-the-job training, and this formal training augmented their learning and career advancement.
  • Students have an alternative to the more traditional college path. Not everyone can afford or desires college after high school graduation. This program allows people who may not be able to gain a technology-based college degree to do just that while providing the benefits of a full-time job.

Ruan appreciated the State of Iowa working with business and educational institutions to grow the technologist population in Iowa. Partnering with the State of Iowa and DMACC on this project has positively impacted the education and economic success of our employees.

All applications for current Employer Innovation Fund grants must be submitted by Friday, February 12, 2021.

Greater Des Moines (DSM) has one of the best business climates in the country. The region is nationally recognized for having a talented and educated workforce, a cost of doing business 17 percent below the national average, a low cost of living and an exceptional quality of life.

Dan Greteman

Dan Greteman is CIO of Ruan Transportation Management Systems. He began his career at Accenture, followed by Nationwide's Allied Group where he ultimately served as senior VP and chief information officer. Dan serves on the boards of Orchard Place and Living History Farms and leads Ruan's first-in-the-nation Technology Apprenticeship program.